Remember when I made mushroom risotto in a rice cooker from a recipe from Roger Ebert's new cookbookand became obsessed with the idea of making things in the rice cooker?
Can you believe this was the first time I'd ever made chili? Naturally, after reading the recipe in the book (provided by one of Ebert's blog readers) I wanted to change it - Ebert himself is quite flexible with his recipe for chili:
Just how you'd figure: beans, ground or chunk beef or vegetable protein, onions, garlic. That's basic. Then maybe some peppers, maybe some bacon, maybe some cocoa powder, tomatoes or try stewed tomatoes (bigger tomato chunks cut up), and chili powder, garam masala, or the hot peppers of your choice.I went with a mix of ground beef and pork I found in the freezer, two cloves of garlic, an onion, two green peppers, a can of mixed beans, a can of red kidney beans and a can of diced tomatoes. (How awesome is the President's Choice Blue Menu No Salt Added line, btw? Yes, some of the products are tasteless but it's nice to be able to see/control how much salt you are adding in and it's cheaper than other no-added-salt canned products).
I resisted the urge to add more vegetables, as the other recipes that I had in my Reader didn't have any either, though next time I might add in some hot peppers - didn't this time because I was worried about my siblings. In the end I also tipped in the leftover corn from the cornbread I made. (Recipe tomorrow!)
In terms of herbs and spices, I didn't stray very far from the recipe - lots of chili powder, cumin, Sriracha sauce instead of Tabasco and a pinch each of the dried herbs that we had in the spice cabinet - thyme, dill, parsley - instead of the suggested Italian seasoning. I think something smoky, like ancho or chipotle, or some smoked paprika (which I regrettably left at B.'s house) would be fantastic here.
Overall, I thought the chili was good for a first attempt, though I'd put a little too much green pepper in and I thought it could've used a little more water - the edits have been made to the recipe below. Really, though, if you have a trusty chili recipe that you use, I would suggest you just use those ingredients and only follow the method. The rice cooker's "Keep Warm" mode worked like a charm for slow-cooking the chili - does this mean I don't have to buy a crock pot? I think some more experimentation (for the rice cooker and my chili recipe) needs to take place...
Rice Cooker Chili
Adapted from The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, by Roger Ebert, via Serious Eats
Makes 8 servings (about 1½ - 2 cups each)
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 lb (900 g) extra-lean ground beef
- 1 × 19 fl oz (540 mL) can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 × 19 fl oz (540 mL) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 × 28 fl oz (796 mL) can diced tomatoes
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- ½ cup (125 mL) water
- 4 tbsp (60 mL) chili powder
- 2 tsp (10 mL) hot sauce, or more, to taste
- 1½ tsp (7 mL) cumin
- 1½ tsp (7 mL) oregano
- 1½ tsp (7 mL) basil
- 1 tsp (5 mL) black pepper
- Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
- Cilantro or green onion, chopped (optional)
Nutrition Info (per serving): 384 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated), 73 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrate (11 g fibre, 7 g sugar), 32 g protein, 664 mg sodium*. An excellent source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and selenium. A good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), folate (vitamin B4), vitamin C and copper.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until onion becomes translucent. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off any excess liquid.
- Combine ground beef mixture and remaining ingredients in rice cooker pot. Stir to mix and close rice cooker lid.
- Switch rice cooker to "Keep Warm" mode and cook chili for 8 to 10 hours. Serve topped with cheese and cilantro or green onion, if desired.*You can cut nearly 600 mg of sodium by using canned products with no salt added.